Women's Lacrosse: Senior returns to form following knee injury
Much of the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team’s early success this season has been built upon the play of its upperclassmen.
The defense has managed strong numbers because of the chemistry developed by its returning players — while three juniors currently lead the Scarlet Knights in scoring on the offensive side.
In matchups against conference opponents, experience begins to play a larger role toward team success.
As the only fifth-year senior on the team, attack Annie McGinley has found her time to step up.
She took matters into her own hands with three goals in the team’s Big East opener March 22 against No. 7 Notre Dame.
McGinley felt it was her duty to contribute more — as senior midfielder Stephanie Anderson was unable to return from injury for the start of conference play.
Anderson and McGinley are the team’s top-two returning scorers from last season.
McGinley followed up her performance at Notre Dame with a three-point game on March 24 against Marquette. She scored five of her seven goals this season during one weekend of play.
McGinley’s career, up to this point, has been plagued by an injury that took away more than a year of playing time — as well as her ability to live up to her full potential on the field.
Her year ended early in 2010 after a season-ending knee injury. She would not play again until the beginning of the 2012 season.
“For a while, nobody knew what was wrong or how to handle it,” McGinley said. “I got hurt in April [of 2010] — and then, they told me all summer they just wanted me to rehab, and I’d be fine.”
But, McGinley was still unable to run come the fall of 2010. She said surgery revealed more unknown issues and would require an additional seven months of rehab.
The physical toll of the injury — paired with the mental aspect of being sidelined for nearly two years — left McGinley unable to find the level of play she once tried to achieve.
In 2012, she started all but one game and finished third on the team in assists with 15 — along with 17 goals.
In her first game in almost two years, McGinley scored two goals against Temple in last season’s opener.
Her contributions during Big East play were important — as she compiled four points last April against Syracuse and scored a goal and an assist in a win against Villanova.
The Orange and the Wildcats make up two of the Knights’ next three opponents.
McGinley hopes to finish out her career by avenging prior defeats to those Big East foes, as well as getting to the Big East Tournament for the first time in her career.
The Knights face Georgetown on April 19, a game that McGinley looks forward to for personal reasons.
“I had committed to [Georgetown] before I committed to Rutgers,” she said. “I love Rutgers so much, and it’s like I need to beat Georgetown before I leave here. … We’ve been so close [against Syracuse and Georgetown], and I need to beat them before I graduate.”
With McGinley’s struggles to stay healthy, she has found a new path for her future with lacrosse because of the perspective she has adopted because of her injury.
“I want to coach,” she said. “I learned more than I’ve ever learned in my time off the field. I still had to go to practice every day — still had to go to games, and you see something totally different when you’re not on the field.”